The material goal driving all of our research is the return of property that was lost to persecution. In theory, this goal is straightforward. But in practice?

International genealogical and probate research helps us expedite the recovery process of looted art, cultural artifacts or other assets.  This is especially necessary when descendants of a family member who was despoiled during the Second World War are unaware of the existence or location of a Will, which may govern the distribution of recovered artworks or other property. 

Our researchers are able to identify each family member’s rightful share.

It can also be important if heirs of the despoiled family member have already post-deceased, in which case the Wills of the post-deceased are required before proceeding with distribution. In these instances, our researchers are able to search internationally for Letters of Probate, Certified Wills and Letters of Administration — identifying, in the process, each family member’s rightful share.

To further establish proof of entitlement, we locate the necessary vital statistics documents: birth, adoption, marriage, divorce and death certificates. 

To address questions or challenges of a legal nature, our legal counsels conduct meticulous legal research in conjunction with our international team of lawyers and historical researchers.

Together, they bring extensive experience in their own fields and deliver unparalleled service and value. Working together, internationally, our legal, provenance and historical research team obtains and organizes the various exhibits required to prove our clients’ entitlement to despoiled property.

Ultimately, we meticulously conduct international provenance research to establish our clients’ entitlement to their family’s despoiled property. We carefully review exhibition catalogues, auction catalogues, art journals, newspaper articles, catalogues raisonnés, art dealer archives, archives containing claims for despoiled objects, and specialist libraries around the world.  In addition to external records, we have also developed our own extensive, internal databases and libraries of archival documents on art sales, art dealers, art collectors, and art looters over the last decade.

Our researchers also gather records to reconstruct the circumstances, which led to the despoliation or sale under duress. Our clients directly benefit from the expertise and passion of our research and legal teams, which have been the keys to our successful restitution claims and we are honoured to be in a position to help our clients.

Additional Services

When necessary Mondex provides international genealogical and probate research to help prove the entitlement of our clients.  Vital statistic documents, probated Wills and other official documents are acquired, translated, certified and vised by embassies when necessary.

Mondex's typical restitution claims involve facts which took place in several different countries and over many decades.  This requires an excellent understanding of the fundamental legal principles and opportunities available when developing an international legal strategy to facilitate a restitution claim.

Mondex is often able to help its clients with the recovery of other assets, which may be unknown to our clients.  This benefit provides our clients with significant, additional value.

Once a work of art has been located Mondex contacts the possessor and begins negotiations to recover the identified work of art.  If a mutually agreeable settlement is reached, then the claim is considered resolved.  When appropriate Mondex is also agreeable to resolve such matters by way of mediation and if necessary, by filing a legal claim, as a last resort, to protect the rights of its clients.

In many instances a collection of artworks may have been looted from one country, transported to a second country and wind up in the hands of private individuals or organizations in several other countries. In such situations the laws and circumstances of each of the countries may become relevant and the legal complexities and challenges that arise as a result need to be properly managed. Over the years Mondex has assembled an excellent team of lawyers in several countries who cooperate to help Mondex’s clients recover their works of art. Such a team approach is required in order for the lawful beneficiaries to have the best chances of success with the recovery of their looted artworks.

Families who are fortunate enough to enjoy a successful restitution often face the practical challenge of what to do next.  Most families do not have the resources to properly store and display a recovered artwork and sharing the artwork among several family members poses other logistical challenges.  This usually leads to the family donating the artwork to a museum or to the sale of the artwork.  This important process must be very carefully managed to protect the value of the property.  Over the decades Mondex has developed significant expertise to help its clients navigate the optimal path, whether with the help of the most established auction houses or through specialist dealers who work closely with Mondex to maximize the value of the artwork.

Mondex also arranges for the transportation and insurance of the artworks that it recovers when such works of art are shipped from the possessor to the auction houses or dealers with whom Mondex cooperates.

Because Mondex conducts research on several cases simultaneously, its multi-lingual, international team of researchers is often on the lookout for archival documents that can easily be related to other cases. Finding such documents or clues in such cases can often lead to the successful conclusion in what might otherwise appear to be an unrelated case. In cases where documents have been misfiled, it can be as though they never existed. But if Mondex is aware of the case for which the documents appear to be missing, we can identify what they are and why they are significant. Sometimes seemingly minor documents or facts can be seen to be significant in the context of additional information.